HHS touts progress in the fight for lower drug prices. Are they making an impact?

On August 20, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an analysis of the accomplishments that the Trump administration has achieved in the first 100 days since the release of the President’s American Patients First Blueprint to lower prescription drug prices.

The HHS Report on 100 Days of Action on the American Patient First Blueprint provides some interesting insight into the Trump administration’s progress on delivering on their promise of lower drug prices.

While there is a lot that needs deciphering, HHS made two very significant claims in this report. They assert that over the first 100 days since the Blueprint's release there have been:

  1. 60% fewer brand-drug price increases then the same period in 2017, and

  2. 54% more generic and brand-drug price decreases than the same period in 2017.

On its face, we felt that these claims represented what could be some significant progress, but in checking the news wires, we found that there was not much analysis of the net market impact of these changes.

Did the media ignore the Trump administration's achievements? Did HHS leave out necessary information in order for others to form substantive analysis? Did anything actually get accomplished?

In the absence of anything more than HHS' report, we decided to do our own analysis to decipher if we're on the right track.

What actually happened to drug prices in the 100 days since the release of the Trump administration blueprint to lower drug prices?

After some careful number-crunching and analysis, we can now tell you where we believe the administration seems to be making headway and where things still seem incomplete. More importantly, we hope we can provide some better clarity into whether or not any current actions have directly impacted lower drug costs.

Check out our newest research that shows what really happened to drug prices in the first 100 days since the release of the White House blueprint.


We hope that our report will provide some good context into the realities of the challenges in drug pricing reform. Spoiler alert: It's more complicated than you may think.

Lastly, thanks to John Arnold of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation for his shout-out to 46brooklyn in his thoughtful piece in STAT News on pharmacy benefit managers.